Forestry Gear, Tops & Branches
By Bill Tice
Improvements to JD H-Series Skidders
In response to common productivity and operational challenges throughout the logging industry, John Deere has introduced new Autoshift functionality on its popular line of H-Series Skidders. The elimination of shifting allows operators to use their right hand to run the grapple and focus on pulling the load, which effectively makes the skidder easier to operate, increases productivity and decreases operator fatigue.
The Autoshift option leverages the fuel efficiency advantage of direct drive and lock-up torque converter (LUTC) transmissions, and automatically selects the
optimal gear for a given load.
“The H-Series skidders are built to maximize uptime, satisfy a wide-range of customer preferences, and keep operating costs down,” said Elizabeth Quinn, product marketing manager, Skidders and Wheeled Feller Bunchers. “Faster load gathering and ground speed combined with best-in-class fuel efficiency ensure the H-Series Skidders move the most wood at the lowest cost per ton.”
The Autoshift option is available in all John Deere skidder models—540GIII and 640H Cable Skidders, and 548GIII, 648H, 748H and 848H Grapple Skidders.
Cat Centre-Post Saw
Caterpillar Forest Products debuted the SC-57 centre-post saw at the East Coast Sawmill and Logging Equipment Exposition, May 21 to 22, in Richmond, Va. The new saw fells trees up to 22-inches in diameter and bunches medium and small stems, making it versatile enough for thinning through to final harvesting. Its large box-section gathering arms are designed to support heavy loads.
Other equipment on display included the recently enhanced SH-50 bunching saw, with an innovative Strait Grip bunching finger (patent pending) that tucks trees tightly into the accumulating pocket, and the Cat D5K track-type tractor, which is specially configured as a fire suppression machine.
Bandit’s MasterTrak Package
Bandit Industries, Inc. has added to its product lineup the Productivity Package, powered by MasterTrak. This management tool communicates directly with chipper and grinder engines, and reduces costly failures by monitoring engine and equipment problems. It is standard on new whole-tree chippers and horizontal grinders, optional for stump grinders and hand-fed chippers, and an addition to existing units.
The system promotes efficiency by offering run-time reports, which summarize run hours and alarm counts for quick troubleshooting. An online display of equipment condition and alarm history reduces trips to the job site. A GPS mapping feature allows you to track your machine from job to job, aides in theft recovery, and provides maps and directions.
Ray Eluskie, marketing manager for Bandit Industries, says the package “automatically records run-time, travel logs, and other information required by air quality agencies, saving you time and providing accurate logs.”
UTV’s Versatile E Series LED Light Bar
The versatile E series four-LED-light bar from UTV can be used for anything from a reverse light on a truck to a floodlight on a trailer. With 1,000 lumens of light, this small unit has the same light output as a 50-watt MR16, and, at 3x3, it can fit anywhere and, according to the company, is “virtually indestructible.” The unit pulls 10 watts – only half of what stock turn signals use – and is as efficient and compact as an HID or halogen light. It is available in 12- and 24-volt systems and sold as a set of two lights. To assist customers, UTV also offers a variety of mounting solutions, including rechargeable battery packs.
Felling Head Enhancements
Caterpillar Forest Products recently announced enhancements to improve durability and performance of the Cat® HF201 and HF221 felling heads for track feller bunchers. Both heads are available in partial or full tilt configurations.
The heads are more robust as a result of structural changes, including a box section frame design, thicker plating and reinforcement plates in high stress areas. A new saw drive shaft system boosts the bearing and shaft load capacity by 50% and improves component service life.
Tree handling is also improved. The heads have larger, flatter front surfaces for better contact with the tree and redesigned grab arms for improved tree control and reduced stem damage.
Both HF models have been updated with the new Cat one-piece saw disc with 2.25-inch (57.2 mm) kerf replaceable saw teeth. The one-piece saw disc, as compared to a segmented disc design, improves saw recovery time and increases the cut capacity by about ½-inch (12.7 mm).
New service door locations provide access to all hoses and fittings, motor adjustments, and debris clean out. Centralized grease points can be reached from the ground for easy daily servicing.
The HF201 has a cutting capacity of 22.5-inch (572 mm) and is ideally matched with Cat zero tail swing track feller buncher models. With a cutting capacity of 24.4-inch (620 mm), the HF 221 is superior in larger tree sizes and maximizes performance of the larger Cat full tail swing track feller buncher models.
Cat Names New Industry Liaison
Caterpillar Forest Products has named Joe Allen forest industry representative, a newly created position in the company’s marketing department. He will act as the division’s industry and association liaison and oversee customer visits to the LaGrange, Owatonna and Prentice plants.
“I am responsible for strengthening Caterpillar’s relationships with forest industry trade associations,” Allen says. “As the liaison with logger associations, I will be able to provide input to Caterpillar and Cat dealers on what the issues are and what loggers are asking for.”
Allen has managed the training centre in Auburn, Ga., since March 2007. He was executive director of the Southeastern Wood Producers Association for more than 14 years, ran his own logging company for almost 20 years and had stints as a tree planting contractor and herbicide applicator.